A public engagement day is being held for people with visual impairments, focusing on rebuilding resilience and optimism for the future.

The free event, featuring a mix of science, research and practical tools for living with sight loss, is part of the annual 'Fighting Blindness Retina 2021' virtual conference.

It will share the stories of a number of people who who have experienced sight loss, including Conor Lennon from Collon, Co Louth.

In 2018, Conor was diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy, a condition which is characterised by damage to the blood vessels of the retina within the eye.

It is a common complication of diabetes and is the leading cause of sight loss in people under the age of 65 in Ireland.

Conor Lennon taught himself to play the piano during lockdown.

When the pandemic hit, Conor stopped a series of elective laser surgeries meant to slow the loss of vision.

Within months, he had lost parts of his central and peripheral vision.

''I went into lockdown with a job I loved and my eyesight. And I came out the other side with neither," Conor explained.

"I was a swimming instructor in Drogheda. It was a brilliant, fun, social job. But I just can't do it anymore."

As he tried to cope with these losses, Conor found music. He taught himself how to play the piano.

He said: "My uncle and dad were taking their old piano out to a friend's house and they said they were going to drop it here to give me something to do.

"I went on a few apps on the tablet and it just took off. I got my first song in the first week.

"From there, it was kind of like, let's see what else I can learn."

Conor, who lives with his fiancée and their seven-year-old son, has now found a job working on the till at a local Chinese takeaway.

He said: "They know I can't see, so they do help a good bit. They would usually bring the orders out or put them in the same place.

Conor now works at a local Chinese takeaway.

"Long-term, I have no idea about jobs. My previous career was the job I thought I was going to do forever. So, I now need to rediscover what I want to do.

"My next goal is probably to get fitter, earn more money and live the best life I can."

Today's public engagement day will take place via Zoom. You can find out more at fightingblindness.ie